What does Metaverse mean?

The word metaverse has been around for a while now. But not everyone understands what it is. Just like few people understand what exactly a cryptocurrency is, although the first bitcoin transaction took place back in 2009.

To begin with, let’s try to figure out what the metaverse is and what cryptocurrency has to do with it.
To make it easier to understand what the metaverse is, we can recall famous films in which characters can be both in the real world and parallel reality. For example, many of us have watched the movies The Matrix or Tron. The essence of films and books is simple: a person, with the help of special devices, is immersed in virtual reality (VR), where they interact with other immersed people, and perform almost the entire set of actions that are available in real life.
The modern concept of the metaverse has something in common with VR, but they are not the same thing. The Metaverse is a virtual reality space that operates on an ongoing basis and is always accessible by anybody. Moreover, with many new technologies, it fully immerses us in the digital world with its laws and economy.
It is not a simple game anymore. However, many companies use the hype around the metaverse and offer to buy lands and build houses for a decent amount of money (transactions usually happen in cryptocurrencies) but don’t provide a full ecosystem and only make some promises so far.
In 2021, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of the well-known social network Facebook, announced the creation of the Meta global project, which will create a parallel digital reality. And it will be possible to exist in it as fully as in the above-mentioned films. Each person will have their own avatar, and internal processes will be depicted as holograms. Those who become immersed in the “meta” will have their own home and even a workplace to lead a familiar life within the framework of the new universe. For instance, your friend lives far away in another country, but with the help of the metaverse, you can go to a movie with him, where other real people can also join you. After that, you can go to the store and buy a virtual shirt that will appear in your virtual wardrobe. And after that, you can go to visit your virtual apartment, which can also be bought, most likely for cryptocurrency. Such physical items in the virtual universe are likely to be sold as NFT’s (non-fungible tokens), which simply are unique non-interchangeable digital assets and are built similarly to cryptocurrencies.*
More than 10 thousand employees of Meta are working on its development today, and investments have reached 10 billion dollars, and the amount, of course, will increase.
Meta plans to release four more VR headsets between now and 2024 that will virtually complement the existing reality. It will be possible to mix reality and integrate digital life into physical existence. For example, the headset will be able to recognize facial expressions and determine the mood, as well as catch the direction of the eye and form augmented reality right in front of your eyes. Meta also reportedly plans to launch AR glasses by 2024, with more advanced designs to follow in 2026 and 2028. At the same time, other companies are not losing time either. A report in the Financial Times quotes the chief executive of H2L, which has built a device that allows metaverse users to feel the presence and weight of virtual objects.
The closest examples of games that have a metaverse idea but currently aren’t that immersive are Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite where people can create their own “experiences” like restaurants, prisons, etc. Kids nowadays do not just play those games but make friends, learn, and even make money there. So basically, they would be totally fine spending all the time there and going to the offline world only for the necessities like eating and using the bathroom.
It is clear that many children are happy to plunge into the metaverse. But still, why would adults need it?
Adults can use it for work communication to simulate in-person interaction without going to the office. They can visit healthcare professionals that might even be in another country with the use of special devices. Those who like games will enjoy them in more exciting ways and will also have plenty of options to make money there by grinding, earning, and selling in-game assets in the form of NFTs. Also, there will be an option for virtual traveling. And most importantly it will be a new ecosystem to build own projects and earn.

When it comes to brand integrations into metaverse, options are limitless. Here are some global examples:

Hyundai Motor Company launched a metaverse space on Roblox that lets users meet and experience Hyundai’s mobility offerings and customize their avatars. It got 3.8M visits so far.
Gucci, in turn, teamed up with Roblox to release Gucci Garden, a unique and interactive virtual exhibit. Currently it has more than 19.9M visits.
Coca-Cola partnered with Tafi to design virtual wearables for Coca-Cola’s first-ever non-fungible token (NFT) collectibles in the metaverse to celebrate International Friendship Day. Coca-Cola auctioned an NFT loot box on OpenSea marketplace, containing digital apparel that can be worn in the virtual world of Decentraland (a 3D virtual world browser-based platform).
Fashion house Balenciaga partnered with Epic Games to integrate high-fashion Fortnite skins. Four skins were created, along with Balenciaga-themed accessories such as a designer pickaxe and Balenciaga bling backpack.
To celebrate the founder’s 200th birthday, Louis Vuitton released Louis: The Game, a video game that follows Vivienne, a mascot created by the brand monogram, as she traverses the virtual world and journeys to vibrant locations across the globe in search of collectible NFT candles. Each candle unlocks a story about the journeys of Louis and his family. Players can collect 30 NFTs, including 10 by Beeple, the artist whose digital collage sold as an NFT at a Christie’s auction for $69.3 million.
HSBC is buying a plot of virtual real estate in an online gaming space called The Sandbox for an undisclosed sum, the bank’s first major foray into the metaverse as it shrinks its UK branch network. The digital push will enable HSBC to engage with sports, e-sports and gaming fans via its slice of turf in The Sandbox, a virtual space majority-owned by Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands.
In December Disney filed a patent for a “virtual-world simulator,” which reproduces one of the company’s theme parks into a 3D realm. Users could then move in “highly immersive individualized 3D virtual experiences without requiring those users to wear an augmented reality AR viewing device.” Disney has already begun integrating the physical, digital, and virtual worlds to help guests navigate Disney properties and platforms. Its MagicBand+ wrist device allows guests to engage with favorite Disney moments in new ways and discover new interactive experiences.
StepN, a popular move-to-earn Web3 running app, recently joined forces with Asics to release a limited-edition StepN-Asics Sneaker nonfungible token (NFT) collection. More than 195,000 participants tried to purchase those virtual sneakers. In May STEPN surpassed 500,000 daily active users.

The Baltics have not slept on these new technological opportunities either:

Scandiweb launched Metaverse on Roblox for Sportland. The creation is called the Land of Sports, and is a virtual arena where anyone can compete online for real prizes, be it sports equipment, gym wear, Sportland gift cards, or discount codes. Currently, there are 2 games developed – running and parkour. Sportland’s virtual experience is expected to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty, and connect people to the brand online and offline. At the time of writing the game received around 36.6K visits , while top games on Roblox have more than 1 billion visits.
In 2014, airBaltic became the world’s first airline to accept Bitcoin payments for its flight tickets. Now, in cooperation with service provider BitPay, airBaltic accepts also other cryptocurrencies. Moreover, they have also released multiple NFT collections and the latest called Planies will be available for minting in June 2022. Nevertheless, the only Metaverse integration they did was to put their NFTs in to Metaverse 3D gallery. At present it appears these current projects have not built a lot of hype among crypto enthusiasts.

[Poke AR image]
Group wide our agency has a broad experience in Metaverse as well. In a recent digital in-store activation, Publicis Poke agency created an AR experience for users to unbox EE’s new game. The activation, launched across 600 stores, succeeded in building engaging dialogue and interactions with consumers.


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